This is my first custom PC build and a notable upgrade from my old Intel i7-920 (Bloomfield), 6x1GB RAM, and Sapphire Radeon HD5830 (upgraded part) from Dell.
Intel i7-5820K (Haswell-E) vs i7-6700K (Skylake): Since both platforms use the same DDR4 memory, the motherboard (x99 vs z170) was the only other part I needed to consider when deciding between the 4th and 6th generation of intel processors. I was already set on getting the Asus “Deluxe” series of motherboards because of the integrated wi-fi option (802.11ac) and more importantly the “5-Way Optimization” feature on AI Suite 3. Being new to PC building, I figured the auto-overclocking would be a good stepping stone into the process. So keeping this in mind and being fortunate to live next to a Micro Center the price difference between these two options was only about $20 for me. With price not being a factor and the research I’ve done the 5820K appeared to be the better of the two processors. Both had comparable performance in regards to gaming (slightly better on the 6700K and with less power draw), but when it comes to multi-threaded applications, the 5820K with its 6 cores really seems to outperform. I didn’t go with the 5930K or 5960X because the incremental cost of $200 and $600, respectively didn’t seem to justify the incremental benefit. Also I really don’t see myself needing the extra 12 PCIe lanes (i.e. I’m not going to do 16x/16x SLI).
Noise: One of my primary objectives was to reduce noise, hence the (1) Define R5 case, (2) why I didn’t get the windowed side panel, and (3) why I mounted the H110i GTX on the front instead of opening up the “ModuVents” on the top of the case. I still can’t say “mission accomplished here”, when the H110i GTX kicks up there’s still a good amount of noise. The fan speed seems a bit overkill (upto 1500 rpm) as my processor seems to stay relatively cool even when I force Corsair Link into “quite mode”. I suspect much of the issue relates to my noob-ness regarding fan curves. I also wasn’t sure if AI Suite 3 and Corsair Link are somehow overriding each other (feedback would be appreciated here).
Temperatures: On the positive side for the H110i GTX, temperatures have been great. During the auto-overclock process the CPU got to about 56 degrees celsius with less than 1.3 volts.
EVGA GTX 980 Ti Hybrid: I’m very satisfied with the card, it’s got a nice premium feel and build quality to it. The fact that EVGA makes you open a number of heavy boxes doesn’t hurt and adds to the overall experience. The card seems to perform well and stays relatively cool. I attached some screen shots of 3DMark’s free demo of Fire Strike and did my best to capture temperatures/fan speeds/PSU usage before and right after the demo (did the best I could here but think its understated, I'm pretty sure its running warmer). For those thinking about a similar setup, the radiator on the 980 Ti Hybrid was a bit difficult to mount next to the radiator/fans on the H110i GTX. I ended up having to use the honeycomb grill as mounting points since the normal screw down points were blocked. Even though the situation wasn’t ideal, the mount seems secure and safe.
Corsair HX850i: Speaking of PSU usage, the HX850i appears to be working great based on my quick “alt-tabs to Corsair Link” when running applications and games. I haven’t seen the system push the unit too far and I’m not sure if the fans ever come on yet.
Intel 750 400GB & Samsung 850 Pro 512GB: The Intel 750 is my primary boot drive and location for key applications and higher end games. The installation process of Windows 10 pro went without a hitch.
P.S. Fan extension cables are in the mail, no need to hate about the two cables coming off the front radiator.